Weird noises and sudden fluctuations in temperature may just seem par for the course when staying in some hotels – perhaps there’s an irritable baby next door or maybe housekeeping adjusted the thermostat at turndown. But at these eight places, the unexplained may be more than mere coincidence. You don’t have to watch The Shining to realize hotels are a breeding ground for ghost stories – particularly when the property has a long history. With that said, we’ve dug into the archives of some of our favorite luxury addresses to see which ones have a reputation for paranormal activity. Might these be the perfect spots to spend Halloween?
Hotel Monteleone, New Orleans
It’s hard to imagine a city more perfect for ghost hunting than New Orleans. Nearly every historic hotel and home in the Big Easy lays claim to at least one ghost story, but few are more famous than the Forbes Travel Guide Recommended Hotel Monteleone, Royal Street’s stylish grande dame that dates back to 1886. In 2003, the International Society of Paranormal Research spent several fateful days exploring the property, finding more than a dozen “earthbound entities,” including a young child in striped pajamas who walks the 14th floor. One of the most famous apparitions is the “doorman” of Le Café (now Criollo Restaurant), located off the main lobby. For years, the restaurant’s doors have closed and opened for unknown reasons. The ISPR determined that this is the result of two ghosts of former employees who prefer the entries stay open.
Monaco Alexandria, a Kimpton Hotel, Alexandria, Virginia
Today a stylish boutique hotel, Monaco Alexandria was originally home to the Marshall House, a small inn located in the heart of the city. On May 24, 1861, an altercation between the innkeeper, secessionist James W. Jackson, and the charismatic Colonel Elmer Ellsworth, a good friend of Abraham Lincoln, led to a melee resulting in both of their deaths. It’s been said that the hotel’s sixth floor is still occupied by the ghosts of both men. Staff members have reported sightings and, as a result, aren’t big fans of being on that level. Guests have reported seeing shadowy figures in the halls, too. Want to learn the full history? The hotel is featured in the city’s Ghost and Graveyard tour, which is led by lantern light.
Beach Village at Hotel Del Coronado, San Diego
Welcome to the real life Hotel California. Plan a stay at San Diego’s luxe “Hotel Del,” and you just might meet Kate Morgan, a visitor who checked in in 1892 and never left. It’s thought that a married Kate arrived on Thanksgiving Day to run away with her lover, but when he didn’t arrive, she committed suicide. She spends most of her time near her former room on the hotel’s third floor, where eyewitnesses say that the lights flicker, TV turns on and off, and doors open and close. The friendly ghost has been spotted in the gift shop and on the beach as well. Want to experience Kate for yourself? Her spirit is said to be strongest in room 3327.
Barnsley Resort, Adairsville, Georgia
Designed in the style of a 19th-century pedestrian village, it’s easy to feel as if you’ve stepped back in time when you visit the Forbes Travel Guide Recommended Barnsley Resort (just over an hour from Atlanta). It’s said that Godfrey Barnsley angered the local Native American population with the purchase of the land in the 1830s. As a result, an elderly chief cursed the land where Barnsley planned his new plantation home. Right before the mansion was finished, Barnsley’s wife, Julia, and their infant son, died suddenly. That fall, Chinese pirates killed his other son in Asia. His teenage daughter also died in the house the same year. It is said that Barnsley, who lost his money by the time of the Civil War, consulted ministers, psychics and mediums throughout his life to get rid of the curse. In the late 1980s, a Cherokee chief returned to the property to “reverse” the curse at the request of the current property owners, but much of the legend lives on.
The Driskill Hotel, Austin
Popular Austin landmark The Driskill Hotel has over 120 years of storied history to it. Guests often claim that room 525 is the most haunted. Rumor has it that not one, but two brides took their own lives in the bathroom 20 years apart. The room was actually shut down to guests for many years. Several other inexplicable sightings have been reported, including a woman on the fourth floor and a young girl who died after falling down the grand staircase while chasing her ball.
Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, Banff, Canada
This gracious Four-Star resort is often referred to as one of Canada’s most haunted hotels. Constructed in 1888, the original hotel was popular with guests visiting the local hot springs. The Banff resort burned to the ground in 1926 and was re-built to resemble a castle – with walls of pure stone instead of wood – and thus earned its name as the “Castle of the Rockies.” There are many accounts of hauntings – noises coming from a once hidden room in the original structure, stories of a murdered family lingering near room 873, and even a bride who died while falling down the stairs on her wedding day.
The Omni Grove Park Inn, Asheville, North Carolina
Many famous authors – and even President Obama – have visited Asheville’s Omni Grove Park Inn, but it’s no doubt that the most famous guest is “The Pink Lady,” who arrived to room 545 in the 1920s dressed in a long pink gown. Unfortunately, the woman fell over a stone wall on the hotel’s second floor and died shortly after checking in. She often appears to guests today in a pink mist. The woman reveals herself mainly to children, who then report having been tickled or playing games with a lady attired in pink.
Hotel Jerome, Aspen
Like many historic properties, Aspen’s Four-Star Hotel Jerome, dating back to the late 19th century, has a number of ghost stories. A young boy who drowned in the hotel pool supposedly lurks around room 310 and leaves wet footprints throughout the property, while a silver prospector, Henry O’Callister, died heartbroken after his love returned back East when her father wouldn’t permit them to marry. A former maid, Katie Kerrigan, is also said to walk the halls, sometimes turning down the beds for the staff.